Written by David Lamb Thursday, 25 June 2015 13:29

The faculty of Biblical Theological Seminary (BTS) went on a tour in North Philly recently to visit the area that surrounds our Hunting Park extension site. You will never guess what we found there.

Bikes and Art

We were surrounded on all sides by walls covered with art created by local kids as Lauren Fisher of Orange Korner Arts, described how they were teaching, training, and raising up the next generation of young artists in the Hunting Park area of North Philadelphia. My favorite section was the impressive wall of super-heroes, but I was curious about the back section which included art made from bicycles.

While we were listening to Dan Helms of Simple Cycle explain how they sell bikes, train residents in bike repair, and reward kids who diligently work on repairs with free bikes, a group of five boys busted through the doorway, needing parts and guidance. Bikes that can’t be made useful as forms of transportation become recycled into forms of art.

BTS board member Susan Post took us on a tour of Esperanza Wellness Center, which caters to all the health needs of Hunting Park residents. The center includes a committed group of administrators, nurses, and physicians, but since it isn’t just a health clinic. They are focused on providing for a much broader array of wellness needs with, among other things, classrooms, an exercise room, and a cafeteria which serves healthy meals.

Why were we doing this?


Written by Derek Cooper Friday, 19 June 2015 10:49

Who says you can’t go medieval in Philadelphia? Last Saturday, I took our World Christian History II class on a medieval field trip to the City of Brotherly Love.

Medieval Church Philly

The field trip was dedicated to all things medieval.

First, the class received a guided tour of medieval manuscripts at the Free Library of Museum. All writings in the Middle Ages — including the Bible, of course — were painstakingly written by hand, often by monks. Many of these manuscripts were illuminated with beautiful calligraphy, bright colors, and stunning illustrations. Students saw Bibles and other Christian writings that were copied by hand from around the 1100s to the 1600s.


Written by Derek Cooper Tuesday, 16 June 2015 15:48

Most every spring, a cohort from Biblical’s LEAD Master of Divinity program prepares to attend what is called our Intercultural Ministry Experience, an international course designed to extend the learning process from the classroom to a completely different cultural and historical context. This year, Cohort 22 traveled to Turkey and Greece!

Turkey Ministry

What did we do? First, we studied on campus, then we traveled and listened while on location. Our preparation for the trip included reading and discussing books on Christian history in the Byzantine Empire, cultural intelligence, pilgrim spirituality, and the politics of modern Turkey.

The first part of our trip to Turkey and Greece was confined to Istanbul, “the land of 2,500 mosques.” Today, Istanbul is one of the largest cities in the world, boasting a population of close to 15 million. At the heart of Old Istanbul, in an area called Sultanahmet, stands what used to be the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, two of the most influential kingdoms in all of world history, which ruled large parts of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. While the Byzantine Empire (330-1453) was Christian, the Ottoman Empire (1099-1923) was Muslim. Both used the city of Constantinople (what is now Istanbul) as their capital—and for good reason. Not only was this city geographically strategic, but it is one of the most beautiful and enchanting cities in the world.


Written by Rick Houseknecht Thursday, 11 June 2015 11:03

Between Us

I grew up as an avid fan of the group Rush. While each member of this power trio is an excellent musician, Neil Peart, the band’s percussionist, is considered a legend in his own time.

Neil Peart

In addition to his drumming prowess, “The Professor” (as he is affectionately known to his bandmates and fans) is also a very thoughtful lyricist. The words to his song Entre Nous, “Between Us,” have taken on new significance for me as I have been reflecting on the missional conversation over the past several years.

Although Peart is not a fan of Christianity, the song lyrics (especially the chorus below) are pertinent to a fundamental challenge believers have struggled with historically and continue to confront.

Just between us I think it’s time for us to recognize the differences we sometimes fear to show

Just between us I think it’s time for us to realize the spaces in between leave room for you and I to grow


Written by Kyuboem Lee Tuesday, 09 June 2015 15:59

A couple of months ago, I heard about a Youth Alpha ministry going on in the Esperanza Health Center gym in the Hunting Park neighborhood of Philadelphia from my wife Christe, who works at the Health Center, and from my church planter friend Matt Lin, the pastor of One Hope Community Church.

Missional Lessons

I was hearing about some wonderful energy for ministry among the mostly Hispanic neighborhood teens. I wanted to find out more, so I sat down for a chat with Jeremy Chen, a Biblical student and an intern at One Hope.

What I found out was that the HP Youth Alpha program cannot be perceived as a stand-alone program in a vacuum. Rather, it must be properly situated in the context of a relational network that has been built over many years by incarnational churches and individual Christians within a particular urban community. The story being told is a story of partnerships, presence, and prayer.


Written by Manny Ortiz and Susan Baker Thursday, 04 June 2015 10:11

Why should we plant churches in the 21st century? Stuart Murray wrote in his book Planting Churches in the 21st Century, “I am convinced that church planting is crucial for the continuing mission of the church and the health of the Christian community.” But why is this true? The overarching dynamic that is requiring us to rethink how we do church is globalization. Globalization equates to movement - movement of people, movement of economies, movement of religious influence, movement of data.

Urban Church Planting

What does this mean to us in the U.S. and in Philadelphia in particular?

Between 2000 and 2010 the total number of foreign-born people in the U.S. increased by 7.5 million. Most of the increase came from Asia (2.5 million), Africa (.6 million) and Latin America (4.5 million) whereas the number of foreign-born from Europe actually decreased by almost .1 million.

What does this mean to the church?

It means our churches must be able to effectively minister to a much more diverse population. Where can we find this diversity? Mostly in the cities as people are drawn to existing family and friends as well as a variety of economic opportunities. Urbanization has increased to a point where over 80% of the U.S. population can be found in urban areas.


Written by Dr. Milton Eng Tuesday, 02 June 2015 16:18

Many years ago when I considered going to seminary, Biblical was one of my options. I wrote the admissions office and they sent me some interesting materials. Among them was an article authored by Dr. Allan MacRae entitled, “With the Rich in His Death.” Dr. MacRae was the co founder and first president of Biblical.

Study Hebrew

In the article, he does a wonderful job of unpacking the meaning of Isa 53:9, “And he made his grave with wicked, and with the rich in his death.” (KJV) This prophecy of Christ is actually alluded to in the brand new NBC mini series A.D. The Bible Continues. In the very first episode, “The Tomb is Open,” Caiaphas, the high priest is dismayed to hear that the deceased Jesus has been placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea – in fulfillment of Isa 53:9! (You can view the scene by skipping to about 20 minutes in).

Dr. MacRae demonstrates how even just a basic knowledge of Hebrew can open up the Scriptures in new and fascinating ways. He shows how careful attention to the text will not only curb the tendencies of modernist interpreters, but also confirms in greater detail the Bible’s divine inspiration.


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